How NOT to Communicate With Your Seller

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There are so many different ways we can potentially communicate with our Sellers. From text to email to phone to in-person meetings, there are many options. So which ones do we choose? The easiest and most convenient channels? The one the Seller initiates with? No—we choose the BEST one that will best aid in our negotiation.

In this episode, Jeff describes the difference between gathering “information” verses gathering “insights,” and five-level hierarchy of Seller communication channels, in order from worst to best.

Episode Transcript

In today’s world, there are so many tools for communication. And one of our most important audiences that we communicate with is, of course, our sellers. And there are so many different ways that we can communicate with our sellers. But the question becomes what is the right way? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is a hierarchy of communication channels. And there are some that you should really lean towards some you should really lean against, and some you should use only in certain cases. So in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how you should not communicate with your seller and why and the upgrades you can make. Let’s keep that theme song. We’re gonna jump right into it.

Welcome to Racking Up Rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans, nor are we posting We Buy Houses signs are just looking for, quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people-oriented deal makers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out win-win deals without agents or any other obstacles, and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from the Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media, this show is for you. Join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio.

Thank you for joining me for yet another episode of Racking Up Rentals. Show notes for this episode can be found at www.thoughtfulre.com/e75. Please do us a huge favor by hitting that subscribe button in your podcast app. It really does help other fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs find this show. Alright, onward with today’s episode.

In today’s episode, I want to talk with you about how not to communicate with your seller; how not to and what you should do instead. So first of all, let’s just step back and let’s define communication. I want to keep our definition, simple, but straightforward. And I’m going to say that communication is about the successful sending and receiving of information. So it’s really both ends, right? It’s the senders and sending the right information. And it’s the recipients end of things receiving the information that was intended for them in the way that it was intended to be received. So good communication is about both the sending and the receipt. But what is it that we are sending and receiving? Well, I want to talk to you about a really important distinction between two things that we need to know as thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs.

There’s two words that start with the letter I, but they’re different information and insights. Information is data; information is something you could fill out on a clipboard. It says: here’s how old the roof is, here’s how many bedrooms are in the house, here is the tax value of this property. According to the county, here’s the exact loan payment that this seller has. But insights are different. Insights are more about reading between the lines, insights are more about the person than the property insights are about how the person feels about the property and relates to the property. So while a piece of information might be you bought this property in 1997, the insight is, I bought this property because my wife and I were having our first baby. And we proceeded to have three kids and raise them in that house. That is an insight about the seller versus the information associated with it. The information might be we paid $212,000 for the house; the insight might be I can’t believe the changes we’ve seen in this neighborhood. We feel very uncomfortable with it. Information and insights are both necessary.

Now, the normal left brain real estate investors really just focused on information, right? It’s almost like they’ve got a clipboard and they’re saying Okay, great. And how many square feet? And what type of heating system? Is it great? When was the last time the heating system was replaced? Great. How old is the roof? Great. insights though, aren’t things that you just fill out on a checklist. those insights come from real conversation from asking good questions, and most importantly, listening to the answers. So with the difference between insights and information in mind, let’s talk about five levels of communication. Or I would say five types of communication five communication media in a hierarchy and their order of preference.

So the lowest common denominator, communication channel would be text. If somebody is texting you seller calls you is better than if they text you. So you send them a letter, the seller texts you and says, “I got your letter, what is your offer?” And if you text them back now you were engaging them on the level of text. But text is extremely, extremely basic, it is the most inferior version of communication possible. And we’ll talk about why in a minute.

The next level up from text a little bit better than text would be email. Email is a little bit better than text, because it can infer things of maybe a little bit better like tone. If we tend to use complete sentences punctuation, we understand a person via email better, but email is still really not a great channel of communication. And I would discourage you from using email more than you really need to the third level on the hierarchy better than email way better than text would be being on the telephone.

Now, how is being on the telephone different? Well, we’re not just getting words coming at us. Now we’re hearing how those words are being delivered. And we’re able to have interactivity, of course for the first time. That’s more real time and instantaneous. Text is a little bit staccato emails a little bit staccato, but phone is a dialogue back and forth in a more seamless manner. So phone is way better than email and way, way, way better than text.

But there’s something that’s even better than being on the phone. And the thing that’s even better than being on the phone is being in person with the seller. Now what’s the difference between being in person with the seller versus being on the phone with them? Well, you get to go from using one of your senses, which is on the phone, you’re listening, when you’re using your ears. Now you’re using all five senses, you are looking at this person, you’re hearing them you’re checking, it sounds silly, but you might be smelling them, you are you’re seeing them in full reality, three dimensionally now you are learning so much more about the seller when you see them in person than you are when you’re on the phone. And you are learning more about the person when you’re on the phone than when you are emailing with them. And you’re learning more about your seller when you’re emailing them than when you’re texting them.

But guess what I said there were five levels. And I’ve only given you four so far. So what is the fifth one, this is the king pin method of communication. And that is in person at the sellers home. When you were in person at the sellers home, you have all of the benefits of everything that you get out of the interaction by being in person, but now you are in their environment you are on their stage you are inside their world that they have created. This is the place where you can learn the most about your audience and you are truly using all five senses. In this case, and I would say maybe even using your sixth sense, the intuitive sense comes into play a lot more when you are in person and at someone’s house. But we’ll just keep it to the scientific five senses. You’re truly using all five senses when you’re sitting in that seller’s living room, and you’re smelling the coffee. Now, is this Folgers coffee? Or is this the local? Small micro brewed coffee? Micro-roasted coffee? Is the couch that you’re sitting on, is it a velvety kind of polyester feel from 1978? Or is it a brand-new leather couch that looks like it landed in this living room about two days ago, you are using all of your senses you’re seeing what’s on the walls, you’re smelling what’s around you, you’re hearing the music that is playing or the music that is not playing, you’re hearing the sounds of what’s going on around in the sounds of the other conversations and other rooms and the sounds of the neighborhood. In In other words, you are getting so much more insight about your seller when you are in person at their house.

Now, just on a real practical level, when a seller calls you from your marketing, the natural temptation is to say “Great, why don’t I meet you over at the property?” And if you’ve sent them a letter about their rental property, which is often what we do. It’s very natural to say let me meet you at the rental property. But when you meet somebody at the rental property, you’re only on level four of the hierarchy. Now you might learn more about the person from seeing them at the rental property because you get to see a little bit about how they’ve managed their rental property and whatnot, but it is nothing like seeing them in person at their own house.

So to recap, and the lowest level of our communication channels is text. Then it gets a little better at email, then it gets a little bit better at phone, it gets quite a bit better at in person and it gets way better at in person in their house. I mean, if you think about the communication that is being conveyed through these five levels, I mean text on that end of the spectrum, this is like, you might as well be receiving Morse code from people. I mean, it almost is literally Morse code, it just happens to be in English. But it’s very, very short. It’s not conveying much more than just a few bits of data. On the other end of the spectrum, though, when you’re in person at their house, it’s like you’re in the front row of a live play happening right in front of you. And on this play, they are blasting certain sense into the audience, when that’s part of the story. And certainly sounds and the cushions of the chair feel a certain way, it’s a full five cents, live HD, as high definition as it possibly gets type of experience. So let’s just talk about what some of the differences are the things that can be missed when you use an inferior communication channel tone, you know, if you’ve ever received an email from somebody, and the language was a little ambiguous, and you thought, Oh, man, I don’t know, these guys might be mad at me. And then when you maybe you follow up, and you talk to them later, and they’re like, “No, what are you talking about? I wasn’t mad.” word choice, people don’t always choose their words perfectly in the way that really conveys tone.

Now, maybe they use some emojis in their email, or their text and a smiley face here or there. But any tone that you’re getting out of purely written communication channels is just a flat-out guess. And it is extremely, extremely ambiguous now. And if you are returning messages, in text or email, you are adding to the ambiguity by also communicating on that level where they don’t necessarily hear your tone, right? Just think about any sentence and the different ways that tone can change that sentence. How about the sentence “I really like this neighborhood.”? You could say, “I really like this neighborhood.” You could say, “I really like this neighborhood.” And those two things, it’s exact same words, but the tone that comes through is completely different. How about body language, we all know the impact the body language has. Now if you’re talking to the seller, and they say, “I’m really not sure if I want to sell my property” It’s very different if you just hear that if you’re sitting in their living room. And the seller leans forward, puts their head in their hands and says, “I really don’t know if I want to sell this property.” The body language conveys 234 times as much information and insight about that seller than just the words. So if your goal is to read between the lines, which it should be, and that’s one of the major upgrades from information insights, you need to be able to see and experience this person and their environment and their whole story in all five of your senses. So where is it that people go wrong?

Well, people go wrong by simply erring on the side of ease of convenience. Great, the seller texted me back. Well, I guess I’ll just text them. Now, the seller, you know, has sent me an email, I guess I’ll just run with that channel. But the harder thing, but the right thing is to consciously try to upgrade that communication channel that you are using. I had in my own business yesterday, a situation I’ve never had before. I’ve never had a seller receive my letter, and then look me up on Facebook and send me a Facebook message. I was really shocked by that. It just caught me off guard. It’s literally in private. I’ve sent 40 or 50,000 letters in my career. So far, nobody ever has done that. And so I was inclined, of course, just naturally knee-jerk reaction to kind of just respond that way. And I didn’t even have this person’s phone number. But I did stop myself. And I said, I need to respond in this channel, because that’s the channel they’ve engaged me in. But I have to immediately pivot this to a higher level of communication. So I wrote back very briefly, and I said, thank you so much for contacting me. I’d love to chat with you about this. You know, the truth is, I’m a little old fashioned. I’d love to ask you a couple questions. Can I just give you a call? And he said sure. And then the next thing you know, we’re having a conversation an hour later on the telephone. And whenever I can, now I’m going to upgrade that from being on the phone to being in person. Now this seller happens to live, you know, several 100 miles away. So being in person is not something that’s going to happen, you know, every other day like it might be if I was buying a property from somebody in my own town, but the point is I upgraded the communication channel to the most reasonable highest level of communication possible in that exact moment.

So my friends, what is the wrong way to communicate with your seller right? I titled this episode How NOT to Communicate with Your Seller. So what is the wrong way? The wrong way is when you choose a lesser quality communication channel when a higher quality one is available. Now, you might have to put just a little bit of elbow grease into changing that communication channel and upgrading it from text to phone or from phone to in person or from in person to in person at their house, or whatever it might be. But if you settle for a lower communication channel, then what is possible, then that is the wrong thing to do.

And with that, my friends, that wraps up another episode of Racking Up Rentals. Show notes for this episode again or at www.thoughtfulre.com/e75. Please do us a major favor by hitting the subscribe button in your podcast app. And taking just a second to rate and review the show.

Did you know that we have a Facebook group also for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs? It is called Rental Portfolio Wealth Builders. We would love to have you join us there so either search for that in Facebook, or just type group.thoughtfulre.com into your browser and the magic of the internet will take you right there.

If you liked this episode, it would be awesome if you would take a screenshot of it and just post that screenshot to Instagram. You can tag us, we are @thoughtfulrealestate. I’ll see you in the next episode.

Until then, this is Jeff from the Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneur signing off. Thanks for listening to Racking Up Rentals where we build long term wealth by being a win-win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock the deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits.

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